Indians The Most Hated Baseball Team, Says Science

When the Wall Street Journal added a New York sports section, we assumed it would be more than game stories and notes columns. Sure enough, they've debuted with a series of needlessly rigorous analyses of things nobody cares about.

Today's entry: a fancy Nielsen Co. algorithm (that's a high-falutin' word that means what follows must be absolute truth) to figure out which baseball team is the most hated. It looks at Internet keywords associated with teams, and assigns them positive or negative connotations.

For example, "I hate the Yankees" would receive negative points. "I love the Twins" would score positive points. "I hate the stupid Red Sox" would probably be a double negative, and register as positive. I don't know; I'm not a scientist.

Here's the full list. Sure enough, the Yankees and Red Sox make appearances, as the fifth and second most-hated teams. But the top spot is a real shocker: the Cleveland Indians.

Really? Who hates the Indians? They haven't won in a decade. They don't have any despised players. We're forced to conclude that the algorithm is flawed, and it's simply picking up on people hating real, non-baseball Indians. (Dot or feather? The presence of the Reds in third place suggests the latter.)

It's just the latest in a week of thinking-man's features for the Journal's sports section. Did you know Alex Rodriguez takes an average of 24.9 seconds to circle the bases after a home run? Did you know the Yankees have won more World Series with a Democrat in the White House than a Republican? Did you care?

Are the Yankees Truly the Most-Despised Ballclub? [Wall Street Journal]